Archive for January, 2008

There are times all of us complain and whine about how difficult things are. Life is hard, we are slaves to the grind and such. And if we are not placing our asses on the couch singing our lamentations while munching the last bucket of  Häagen-Dazs, we get bogged down by others who do.

It is at times like those when we forget that no matter how shitty we feel, there are others who are in worse situations. Moreover, it is at times like those when we feel compelled to blame our failures to the inextricable bad karma that keeps shitting on our necks.

It is a time like this when we have to see individuals like Amanda Victoria who not only survived non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, but have the fortitude to get in the best shape possible after such ordeal.


pain   sickness 

an example   the come back

the come back   stretching

It’s ok to whine, to complain and cry. Just never forget that there is always someone in a worse situation than yours, and that there are people who come back strong from situations worse than yours.

Suffering is part of being human, but no human ever has monopoly over it.


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… or boredom. Whichever it is, I think it momentarily sparkled my artistic creativity…

 …. weeeeeee, I’m a fucking kite, man!!!!

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One of my favorite places to eat out (read pig out) is Wolfie Cohen’s Rascal House on 17900 Collins Ave (Miami Beach). Awesome little corner of a place with my favorite meal being egg benedicts, potato pancakes and kosher dill pickles, and the coffee, oh the coffee.

If you are visiting South Florida, go there.

If you live in South Florida, but have never gone there, please your palate and go.

Meh, perhaps if you are on a strict diet you may have some reservations, but even then, the menu selection is varied enough to include low-fat, low-sodium meals with egg whites, smoked salmon and stuff.

And speaking of low-fat, low-sodium, what better than a humble dill pickle?!?!? I never really liked sauerkraut, and for some moronically retarded reason, I associated it with other forms of pickle vegetables. I lost my interest in pickled products for years. What a retarded notion.

People struggle to come with ideas on how to eat healthy and lean, on how to intrude healthy snacks and stuff. One quick way is with dill pickles. And no, they are not heavy on sodium. Don’t even go there; do your research. They may be prepared in brine, but the brine allows for acidification and anaerobic fermentation (think yogurt). The brining process does not load them with sodium.

Rant asides, dill pickles are an excellent way to introduce a healthy snack to your daily diet. Two pickles can make a crunchy, refreshing snack to keep your stomach busy between meals. A pickle and a can of tuna can make a perfect meal for the end of the day.

A dill pickle may not have much in terms of calories, carbs, protein, but neither does broccolis. And yet, broccoli is a perfect way to make a snack or a low-carb, low-fat component of a meal. It’s all about what you eat throughout the day and from one day to another. And at $2-3 a jar, they are one of the many sensible, healthy and affordable ways to supplement a healthy diet.

Munch one, munch it like a cow, and be happy. 🙂

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Following the trail of thought started here, we explore how to turn a lowly, humble and disposed tire into a fine piece of physical training equipment. I shit you not, it is possible… and no, I’m not running a spell-checker on this thing!!!

The Humble Tire

Originally I though I needed a piece of lumber with a bar inside the tire to turn it into a loadable sled. I was wrong. You don’t need a piece of wood or a platform to put load on it. Just put the dumbbells and crap inside the tire and voila!

I don’t know why I didn’t think of this before. Having said that, one would have to use small dumbbells or plates, but that’s ok. I have almost 200lbs in dumbbells, small plates, chains and crap I can throw inside the tire. Another nice thing about the tire is that I can use it to carry stuff. To keep the tire from throwing dirt on my car or inside the house, I just throw a canvas on it (he, tire wearing a burka).

I don’t have a harness (yet), so I used my old belt instead to strap the PVC/chains rings I previously constructed (which are secured in the tire with another chain which itself weights about 13lbs).

I have to say it was fun doing a lot of shit with this contraption – presses, flies, pull-through, etc. Time went quickly, and in about an hour I was drained. I over-trained a bit however, and the right back of my lower back is bitching a little bit. I don’t get that (usually) from squatting. No biggie, but it’s something to consider. This thing wears you down before you realize it.

So there, you can make your own sled with a tire and some chains. You can drag it, push it with your hands, with your legs, run with it tied to your waist, whatever, and this is the promotional video:

Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BYz6ToIbDuo

The only caveat is that it’s easy to over-train your lower back with it. I did this last Thursday, and my back wasn’t fully recovered yet on Sunday (thus messing up with my squat/dead-lift day.) Oh well, live and learn.

Moderation is the key to anything, including working out with a tire and stuff.

The WhiteShark Push Up

Moving to a different home-made contraption is what I call the WhiteShark Push Up. I call it so since the dude who originally came with the idea is a Shidokan/MT fighter that goes by the handle of “WhiteShark” on bullshido.net.

Anyways, here is what he has to say (I think it’s a pretty good idea, and I can’t wait to build me one):

I’ve got a good one! Here are some pushup handles I made. I was inspired by the perfect pushup on TV but I wanted more stabilizer recruitment. These pivot and the handles spin and the whole thing can turn like the perfect pushup. If you make them be EXTREMELY careful on hard surfaces. I am doing it on carpet because it provides some friction. I can only do it on my knees on hardwood.

EDIT: I guess I should explain how these are made.
2 x 6″ PVC Pipe endcaps
1 x 8′ 1″ pvc tubing
2 x 8″ lag bolt 5/8″ diamater
2 x 5/8″ wingnuts
1 roll friction tape

Drill holes for the lag nuts in the side of the PVC endcaps. I put mine right in the middle of the side because I originally planned on putting one hole above and one hole below for different lever points. Cut the PVC tubing to a little more than 6″ wrap it to the desired thickness with tape. If you can’t figure out the assembly kill yourself.

I think this a pretty good alternative, perhaps even a better one, than the “perfect push up”. We are considering building a new version of it with thicker handles in the near future (in addition to a home-made harness that, if I calculate correctly, can handle over 1,000lbs of resistance.)

I hope I don’t kill myself in the process.

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Well, I’ve had some free time in the last couple of days, so I decided to make some shit at home. The first thing was a pair of rings, these ones made with PVC pipes and chains (I stole that idea from Ross Enamait’s forums.)

I haven’t hung this stuff yet – I’m installing some swing handles off a 4×12 beam. I will post a pic of me doing this shit. Hopefully it will work and won’t split my head open (clickable thumbnails below):

First, I got two 24″L x 7/8″OD PVC pipes, two 10-ft long zinc plated chain (545lbs workload limit), four 1/4″ quick link (880lbs capacity) and four 4″ swing hardware (screw type, nylon bushing, 150lbs capacity). Some of that hardware can be seen below:

Next, you pass the chain through one of the pipes and secure the ends with one of the quick links:

Next, you bend the PVC pipe until it makes a loop. You use another quick link to secure the ends together:

The end product looks like this.

I still have to hang the swing hardware on the beams. Supposedly each hardware has a 150lbs workload capacity. So each pair can handle 300lbs. Somehow, I don’t buy it. Paranoid me, I’m going to install four, in pairs.

Warning: don’t try to build one with ropes. The pipes flatten out very badly with ropes. The chains prevent the pipes from folding, making a nice loop.

So help me ${DEITY} I’m not gonna break my shit when I’m swinging from that contraption.

Another cool thing is a tire, a good ol’ car tirel you can push it or beat the crap out of it; you can tie it to a belt and drag it around. After a couple of runs, I couldn’t sprint with it anymore.

Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s4NEhXj3GyY

If I can place a 2×12 in the tire with a metal pipe in it, it should become a nice load-carrying sledge. This is convenient when you are in a crowded neighborhood (the noise generated from the tire is quite negligible.)

Another thing you can do with a tire is that you can push it as you do a frog-like leap. If you think this is easy, go do it and come back to tell me so later. I can squat 355lbs just below parallel (that’s 2.15x my weight), and I’m telling you that this thing is hard.

Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h4tcZHO_EtQ

Next, I call this *** cue drums *** the balls of grip… jk… but not quite. When I was getting the stuff from Home Depot, I saw these things in the lumber department:I don’t remember how they are called. They are decorative crap you put on your 4x4s when building a fence or deck. Anyways, they are excellent, me thinks, for gripping.First, you remove the screw from them. Use a plier, not your teeth.

Once you remove the bolt, apply a bit of strong glue and drive an eye screw into the hole. Make sure the eye screw is longer and thicker than the bolt originally removed. Then pass either a chain or a rope through the eye, which you can use to hang weight plates, dumbbells and shit:

Don’t just grip the ball with the eye pointing downwards. Try to do some bicep curls with the eye screw moving parallel to your forearm. The closer it gets to the horizontal, the more difficult that it gets.

Happy training.

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I think most of us at some point or another have used the services of a massage therapy. And although we know deep tissue massage works, it’s not something that we can afford to use everytime our bodies are falling apart. Which is why this thread is coming into existence. My massage therapist gave me some tips on how to do myofascial release at home using props, tennis balls and stuff like that, and that’s something you guys may find useful. A few things first.Myofascial release is a form of massage therapy that works on the fascia. Fascia is a connective tissue that surrounds organs and muscles. Most of us are familiar with the type of fascia that surrounds muscles as it’s usually the target of deep tissue massage. Think of it as long rubber bands that start on the sole of the feet and wrap our bodies all the way to the neck.

Now, these aren’t separate bands, but one single sheet of strong, flexible tissue wrapping your muscles. It’s not the bones, but the fascia that keep things in place. Different sections are given names, such as the plantar fascia, iliotibial (IT) band, etc.

Now, just as muscles and tendons can get tight, inflexible and inflamed/irritated, so can the fascia. If you were to get a massage on the soles of your feet immediately before trying to touch your toes (in a hamstring stretch), you’d notice you can reach farther than you would without the massage.

Again, this is because the entire tissue connects one piece of your body to the next. And you must take care of it. Thus, in addition to strenght training and flexibility training, you must do myofascial release on a regular basis.

That’s a picture I stole from somewhere 😛 The little knots in it show those spots that hurt like a bitch. Those are muscle fibers and/or irritated fascia. And the way to release them is by applying pressure on them (either constant pressure at a single point or in a circular or back-and-forth motion).

And all you need is a tennis ball and a foam roller.

For example, you can use a tennis ball to release tension on the fascia and muscles of your hip flexors, as in this picture I stole from somewhere:

It hurts like a bitch, but it’s worth it. You move back and forth looking for the tender areas, and you make sure you stay in those areas applying constant pressure (within your pain threshold mind you.)

 I personally use the tennis ball every other day on my rhomboids, trapezoids and the base of the neck. Those are the areas that give me the most trouble.

Other examples where a foam roller is used are as follows:

Calf release:

Peronius release:

Shin release (this is specially good to avoid shin splints):

Side Quad and IT band (this one hurts like a mofo):


Hip abductors:

Back release:

For most of these exercises, you can switch to a single limb to apply greater pressure. I wanted to write more about them for a long, but shit, I’m short on time. If I keep waiting for when I have the time, I’ll never write it down.

So, for additional details, I strongly suggest you guys read the following articles in t-nation. They put all the work together in those articles, with complete explanation of exercises for the back, legs, triceps and what not.


Feel Better for 10 Bucks : http://www.t-nation.com/readArticle.do?id=475832

Soft Tissue Work for Tough Guys: http://www.t-nation.com/findArticle….6-150-training

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